Ambassador Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis In Dialogue At Saturday Forum

Amb. Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis receives Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence from Leadership 100 Chairman George S. Tsandikos and Metropolitan Gerasimos.


Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, a longtime member of Leadership 100, engaged in a dialogue on international relations and domestic politics led by Mike Manatos, a member of the Executive Committee at the Saturday Forum on February 20, 2016 at the 25th Annual Leadership 100 Conference. She also touched on the subject of her recently published memoir, Madame Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties, and Democracy in Budapest. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from January 7, 2010 to July 20, 2013.

The memoir, released on May 5, 2015, recounts her experiences being vetted for the position with no background in diplomacy, attending an ambassador “charm school” and an intensive training session. However, in taking up her assignment in the former Soviet satellite, she felt that nothing could have prepared her for the realities of life in Hungary.

A property developer in California, she has been politically active, serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention four times. She and her husband Markos founded two university chairs in Hellenic Studies, at Georgetown and Stanford Universities, and a lecture series at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has been awarded the Medal of St. Paul by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.

The former Ambassador was presented with the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Award for Excellence for her public service and in upholding Hellenic values at the Grand Banquet on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

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